Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Happy Cooking


I'm interested in happiness. How could I pass up a title like Happy Cooking?

You probably know the author. Giada De Laurentiis. I didn't. Still don't, though I am pretty sure she is one of those celebrity chefs on tv. Don't hold that against her; she has a lovely little cookbook here.

Like many of us, De Laurentiis is happiest when she is cooking. In this book, she shares recipes that are both healthy and stress-free to prepare.

Well, let's put the cookbook to the test. Why not start with a recipe for something that is always a little stressful for me? Shall I try her recipe for pot roast? Yes, I think I shall.

Here's her recipe:

Sunday Pot Roast
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (5-pound) beef chuck roast
1-tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, cut into 8 wedges
1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, and cut into 8 wedges
1 cup dry red wine
½ cup low-sodium beef broth
1-cup marinara sauce, homemade or store-bought
½ pound small Yukon Gold potatoes (about 8)

Preheat the oven to 300°F.
In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Rub this mixture evenly all over the chuck roast.
In a Dutch oven or heavy stockpot, heat the olive oil over high heat. Reduce to medium high and add the roast, searing the meat on all sides until golden brown all over, about 4 minutes per side. Remove the roast to a plate and add the onion and fennel to the pot. Cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes or until fragrant.
Deglaze the pot with the red wine and the beef broth and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, scraping up any brown bits that may have stuck to the bottom. Stir in the marinara sauce. Return the roast to the pot, nestling it into the vegetables. Cover with the lid and place in the oven for 2 hours and 30 minutes, turning the meat once about halfway through.
Remove the lid from the pot and scatter the potatoes around the meat. Return the pot to the oven, uncovered, and cook for another 30 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through and the meat is tender. Allow the pot roast to rest for 30 minutes before serving.
Reheat the braised fennel and potatoes in the pan juices, then arrange on a platter. Slice the pot roast and serve alongside the vegetables. Spoon some of the pan juices over everything before serving.


I was a little flummoxed at the start. Fennel? What's that? 


The produce manager at the grocery knew, of course. Looks quite a bit like an onion, though it is in the carrot family. Quite healthy for us, apparently.


All the other ingredients were easy. The recipe called for some onion. A chuck roast. Rosemary. Thyme. Garlic. Potatoes. Homemade marinara sauce. And red wine.


Some simmering on top of the stove.


And then ready for a couple of hours in the oven.

What did we think of the Sunday Pot Roast? It met all its promises. Healthy? Check. Delicious? Check. Easy? Check.

And are we quite happy now that we have eaten it all? Yes, we are.

I'm ready to try a few more healthy, happy meals from Giada De Laurentiis' Happy Cooking.



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53 comments:

  1. Ha! I love fennel! It used be almost impossible to find outside a larger cities. Glad it came out great and that it really was happy cooking!

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  2. Looks delicious! Am sure it was relished by all :)

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  3. I like this special one, its delicious.
    Best, Synnöve

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  4. Espero que fueras muy feliz cocinando ese plato tan delicioso...
    Besos

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  5. I'll have to give this a try! I've had mixed results with Giada's recipes but I love a good roast! I like that you tackled something that definitely didn't make you happy in the past.

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  6. That sounds nice. I like trying new recipes. I might give this one a try.

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  7. I'd heard of Giada's tv show and that she wrote cookbooks. I think one was recommended to me even, have to check this out, I do love trying out new recipes.

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  8. Wonderful food photography. The textures are there.
    Happy WW!

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  9. Love the photos! And I love Giada! I have one of her cookbooks that is dog earred and has helped me make many a family member very happy. Her recipes are usually spot on and easy. I might have to take a look at this one.

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  10. Good for you! I am happy that you happily tried one of many recipes from the good book. Bon appetit!

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  11. I prefer "happy eating", lol !

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  12. Interesting to see a pot roast recipe that doesn't use the slow cooker. Slow cookers seem to be everyone's go-to appliance these days. You didn't mention the characteristic taste of fennel, like licorice -- it must have added some interesting flavors to the roast.

    best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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    1. Apparently, cooked fennel doesn't have the same strong licorice flavor that uncooked fennel has. I was surprised to find that fennel was quite mild.

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  13. I have never used fennel or marinara sauce in my pot roasts. But now I will try Giada's recipe. Looks great and roast in the oven is heavenly. Thanks for sharing.

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  14. I have never cooked with fennel. This looks delicious.

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    1. My mom made the best roasts. Wish I knew her secret. Until I do, I'll keep experimenting. The marinara sauce added something good to this recipe.

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  15. I've yet to cook with fennel, must fix that. Love a pot roast.

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  16. Yum, there's nothing like a good pot roast on the weekend. Comfort food at its best. I've heard of Giada but have never tried any of her recipes. Thanks for sharing this one.

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    1. My family has always loved to make a big meal on Sunday.

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  17. I'm not a big fan of fennel, so I'm glad to hear it doesn't have that strong licorice flavor in this recipe. The roast sounds yummy! I hope you enjoy experimenting with the other recipes in the book.

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    1. I wish I'd tried a bit of fennel when it was raw. Just to see.

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  18. I've made lots of pot roasts, but never with fennel. I usually add carrots so, since fennel is a part of the carrot family, why not give it a try. I think I will. Thanks for sharing.

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  19. I love Gina's recipes and you can never have to many versions of pot roast. You never know what your larder is holding on any given day.

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    1. Now that I've read her cookbook, I should watch her on tv.

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  20. Cooking is a happy place except when I muck it up1 Cheers from Carole's Chatter!

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  21. I love a good roast but never tried making it with a fennel bulb (I knew what it was only because I worked in a grocery store for a while) or marinara sauce.

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  22. Yes, Giada is one of the Food Network's biggest stars - she's also a frequent guest on the Today show. Her pot roast recipe looks good - we love pot roast here! Though I would leave the fennel out - it is just about the only food I don't like!

    Thanks for the heads up on the cookbook - sounds great!

    Sue

    Book By Book

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  23. I bought Happy Cooking a while back and am enjoying it. Giada has great simple but flavorful recipes and your pot roast looks like no exception. ;-) Fennel is one of my favorites--I especially love it roasted or sauteed. Yum!

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  24. I don't watch cooking shows, either. I would probably end up watching and not cooking! I see fennel in the store, but never buy it because I don't like the taste of licorice. So it's good to learn that it's not a strong flavor when it's cooked!

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  25. Sounds delicious! Easy cooking always make me happy. I love fennel.

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  26. I've looked for fennel on occasion and have never found it--but perhaps I should just ask!! I didn't realize that it was part of the carrot family. And I think I've heard that fennel is supposed to be good for digestion?

    Sounds delicious! I love pot roast but my husband grew up with his mother's dried out bricks of a roast and so he never wants me to make it. Ha!

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  27. I actually watch Giada on Foodnetwork quite often. My favorite series is the one where she is living in Italy and showcasing her family's authentic recipes.

    I'm not familiar with this particular cookbook - sounds like one I need to check out :)

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  28. Fennel is one of my favorite things to use in recipes. I don't like it as the "star" of the dish, but I do like it as an aromatic.

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  29. I like easy stress free recipes, so thanks for sharing about this book! Nothing is better than Sunday pot roast!

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  30. Happy Cooking sounds like the best kind of cooking!!!

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